Recently, J and I hopped down to New York for a long weekend. I didn’t visit the city for the first time until about three years ago, and I find it endlessly alluring, no matter the season. It’s fast-paced, but there are pockets of quiet even in such a teeming metropolis. And there are a seemingly infinite number of historical landmarks, dazzling theatrical shows, delicious restaurants, fascinating bookstores, charming cafes…the list goes on and on.
We rented a lovely little third-floor walk-up apartment in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, complete with wee kitchenette (and teakettle!):
On our first evening, we wandered the neighborhood and visited, among other spots, the Greenlight Bookstore – a light-filled space packed with fascinating books of all genres. (I snagged Ruta Sepetys’ new novel, Out of the Easy – wonderful young adult fiction set in 1950s New Orleans.)
After some (rather disappointing) Italian food, we headed to the Chocolate Room in Park Slope, because chocolate cures many ills:
That’s a delectable brownie sundae, and we both ordered hot chocolate to go with it.
Warm and woozy from our dessert coma, we headed back to the flat and fell asleep.
The next day, we did a “vertical tour” at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, in Morningside Heights near Columbia. Madeleine L’Engle, my heroine, was the librarian there for many years, and I’ve always wanted to see it.
We walked up (and up and up) a staircase that took us to the top of a buttress, eye-level with gorgeous stained-glass windows, and eventually up to the roof:
After a stroll through Columbia’s campus, we settled on lunch at Deluxe, which we finished by splitting a strawberry milkshake:
We then headed down to the Upper West Side, popping into Book Culture on West 112th on the way:
A chill wind and tired feet led us to stop for tea and a muffin at Arte Around the Corner:
Refueled, we wandered over to the Museum of American Folk Art near Lincoln Center (a fun, quirky little find), then ate some delicious Indian food on the West Side and bought a few Insomnia Cookies to take back to the flat.
Sunday morning found us wandering the Brooklyn Flea, housed for the winter in the beautiful old Williamsburg Savings Bank building:
Then we met our friends Duncan and Allison for brunch at Whym in the West Fifties. This was my choice – mixed-berry stuffed French toast, with raspberry curd. Heaven.
We spent the afternoon seeing The Mystery of Edwin Drood, a hilarious musical adaptation of an unfinished Dickens murder mystery. The audience gets to vote for the killer! Campy and fun, in the style of Clue. Afterward, we headed to The Little Pie Company for fresh berry pie and tall cups of tea.
The wind had kicked up by then – it was too cold to walk around, but we weren’t hungry for dinner yet. Allison suggested the Harry Potter exhibit at the Discovery Center in Times Square. It’s a little pricey, but such fun for Harry Potter nerds – it showcases props and costumes from the Potter films, including Quidditch gear, robes and wands, Hermione’s textbooks, several Horcruxes, and a huge glass case of sweets from Honeydukes and Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes.
We shivered our way down to Don Giovanni’s for some yummy pizza, a glass of sangria, and some truly delectable chicken noodle soup, with spinach and tomatoes. Perfect for the bitter weather.
Our bus left on Monday afternoon, so we spent a leisurely morning strolling Park Slope (popping into cafes for tea when it got too cold). An utterly charming New York weekend. (Though I hope the weather’s warmer next time I go.)
What are your favorite NYC spots, if you’ve been there?